Lately at my office there has been some conversation about dynamic languages, and which one we should be investigating to replace dead languages like, ColdFusion, there I said it. Luckily one of the dynamic language junkies left to go work for Netscape, now Propellar, because he was a Python fan boy. I looked a little into Python and I hear tons of people probably would use Django over Rails had it been out sooner. That being said, I am glad that is one less language we need to look into before we can come to the conclusion that all of them are better than what we currently have.
So where does that leave us? Well there is myself, the Ruby/JRuby advocate, and Brian the hardcore Enterprise Java/Groovy advocate. Fortunately Groovy does not have a web presence comparable in matruity to Rails. While Grails is making great strides, from what I hear the author is still not convinced it is production ready. Brian however made a strong case for using it as it gets closer to maturity because it has been designed from the ground up to be integrated with existing J2EE standards, like JTA and JPA.
I have stated many times in this on going discussion that I am up for using whatever language we all agree to best suit our needs, and if it is Groovy I am all for it. I just don’t think our existing ColdFusion/Java/Flex combo is the most productive stack we could be using. That being said I bought into Brian’s argument, until I read the ever opinionated DHH’s recent blog post about Sun’s Craig McClanahan Keynote at RubyConf Europe. This is the guy who worked on Struts and JSF and he is advocating Rails usage. The only thing this article reminded me of was that Sun has brought the JRuby team in house, while Groovy was not invited.
To me that seems like Java is going to work a lot harder to get JRuby up to snuf with it’s standards and have the money and manpower to make that happen. You may doubt their support for JRuby but with the quick turn around on Netbeans with Ruby support, I don’t think you can question their commitment to the language.
So as much as I like what Groovy has done for the Java community and believe that there is room on the JVM for more than two languages. I think Sun is going to put their weight behind JRuby and over time will stay ahead of Groovy with support and quality of implementation of the Java Specifications. I could be completely off in this assumption, but the evidence seems to point to my observation.